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Old 05-07-2012, 08:38 AM
this is amy this is amy is offline
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Pine Tree


Title: Pine Tree
Year Created:
Medium: Oil
Surface: Canvas
Dimension: 20x24
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I need help with a better composition for this piece. I want the focus of the piece to be the boy/tree interaction. I also want to communicate a sense of location (i.e. the tree's location on a hill, boy's nice view from his seat on the tree).

I know I have some tangents with the alignment of the tree branches. I will fix them when I re-work this piece.

question 1: Should i crop to make the boy/tree more dominant to the piece? How much to crop without loosing the sense of location.

question 2: Should the tree be on the right side of the canvas, since the Weste<br> eye reads from left to right? Maybe if the tree was on the right it would be more prominent?

question 3: I wonder if the shape of the tree was less "arrow-like" (branches pointing the eye to travel to the bottom-right, into the field) the eye might focus in on the boy/tree? Thoughts about that?

question 4: What do you think of the colors? I was attempting warm colors in the shadows to draw the eye to the boy/tree relationship.

question 5: Do you have any thoughts on the color/feeling of the sky? My reference photo was taken on a hot, muggy day last summer. The sky was hazy. I want to communicate a hot, summer day (the boy resting the the shade of the tree). Do I need to make the sky more blue? or warmer? or make the shadow areas cooler to communicate that?

Thanks so much for taking a look!
Website: amydonahuefineart.com //Blog: amyhrdonahue.blogspot.com // Facebook: www.facebook.com/amyhrdonahue // Demo Videos: subscribe here
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:20 PM
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tony1 tony1 is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

Not sure I would crop it as I like the feel. I would add a low tree/bush on the right to stop our eyes from rolling down the hill. The boy is close to one of the thirds, so if you do crop try to bing him into the lower thirds.

To make him more coi I would increase the contrast/values. That, so I hear, is one of the things that makes a coi.

Really like the sky as is. Maybe a little more lightening as you approach the horizon, but really it's good as is.

I like the overall palette. Really nice piece.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:01 PM
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D.W. Flint D.W. Flint is offline
California Central Coast
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Re: Pine Tree

Personal opinion, I would leave the boy out. I didn't even notice him until he was mentioned. Everything else looks great...
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:01 PM
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Andrewcody Andrewcody is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

I was looking at this and liked it but there was a problem, Tony hit it, contrast, the tonal value is the same across the painting, there are lights and darks but these are not striking enough to make this painting come alive.

What is the man in the distance doing? Playing golf?
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:18 PM
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tgsloth tgsloth is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

Very accomplished piece. My only suggestion is to warm the sky.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:25 AM
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Debzy Debzy is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

I also didn't see the boy at first, therefor if you want him to be obvious in the piece I would definitely add some kind of contrast to him. I'm not sure how, I would probably use a contrast colour for his shorts or his T.Shirt to draw the eye towards him more. Perhaps a more vivid red or blue, or both! Apart from that, I love it, and your treatment of the foreground flowers and light are lovely. I think the sky does look a bit grey, like a storm may be brewing.... Not such a bad thing because at the end of a muggy day it often happens that there can be a storm! Otherwise, yes warm it up or blue it up a little more.... in my opinion anyway. Cheers. Welcome to W/C, you have done a lovely job here. Debs. =))
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:19 AM
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maryinasia maryinasia is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

I'm not an expert, but I'm so glad the boy is there, and that he is not obviously there.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:45 PM
this is amy this is amy is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

Thank you all for lending your time and your eyes!!! Wonderful feedback, so helpful -- about the need for contrast, tony's idea to add an element to the lower right, warming up the sky. And a beautiful reminder of the variety of possible solutions for any piece.

andrew cody, the figure in the distance is (suppose to be) walking up a path located at the tree line. Perhaps i painted him too hunched-over.

Again, thank you!!!
Website: amydonahuefineart.com //Blog: amyhrdonahue.blogspot.com // Facebook: www.facebook.com/amyhrdonahue // Demo Videos: subscribe here
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:59 PM
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draggingsticks draggingsticks is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

I like it. If I added anything I would only be nitpicking. Leave the boy IMO. Great Job.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:52 AM
freddyb2012 freddyb2012 is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

I really like it as it is as well. I didn't notice the boy immediately either, but as soon as I did it made me appreciate the scene even more. Very impressive.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:03 PM
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eyecandy2 eyecandy2 is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

It is a nice painting. I think that the greens are too blue and need a little orange in them to make them more natural in color. I never noticed the boy until someone pointed out, however, it might show up better on the original piece than it does on this small photo. Since that big branch points down to the lower right, you might add something there to stop the eye from running off the canvas.
Phil Sydell ( eyecandy2)

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Old 05-11-2012, 06:28 AM
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gouligann gouligann is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

Hi Amy, I think you did a great job on the huge old tree and I think putting the boy on that limb is brilliant!
I like your sky, but agree with Tony to lighten the horizon a bit.

I think to bring more attention to the boy, he needs a little lighter skin colour where the sun shines on him. Maybe making his t-shirt another colour too, (blue, yellow) other than the drab gray you have on him.

Your overall values are too similar. A very light, pale blue wash over your background trees would help push them further back, helping with portraying that it is a muggy day, and also help draw more attention to your tree and the young lad.

I'd take the man out altogether. I don't think he adds anything to this lovely scene.

Hope this helps. Ann
Class is not achieved by where you live, what your last name is, or how much wealth you have. It comes from within yourself.

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Old 05-25-2012, 05:25 PM
AllanFink1960 AllanFink1960 is offline
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Re: Pine Tree

Your painting is actually lovely just the way it is.
However you have goals for it that you are not meeting, so ...

My suggestion covers all your numbered questions except number two. The tree is fine where it is.

My suggestion is:
Change the TIME OF DAY.

This will take some bravery as your reference material may not be of much help. But...change the time of day to early evening sunset. Put the sun LOW in the sky on the right side.
This will let you do some fun things:

- Make the shadows from unseen trees off to the right cross the hill in bands of light and shade that POINT right at the boy. Your eyes will follow the shadows right to the boy.

- when you mess with the contrast of the kid against the tree, put bands of dark above and below the kid but blast the kid in the face with a ray of blazing sunlight so he lights up like a lighthouse against the darkness. You can lighten his tee shirt to almost a full on white with a hint of orange. Make your shadows cold dark and and blue so the bright orange white comes forward.

- Relight the tree from the right front, so the lights and shadows all point to the kid.

- Put a zenith in the sky, ramping up from light cobalt blue at the bottom to darker ultramarine blue at the top.

- relight the background trees to have a light side and a dark side, but draw them so they lead the eye to the kid. The arrow formed by the shape of the background trees points a wee bit too high right now.

- There is sort of an ambiguous column of low hanging tree branches smack dab in the center of the image that I would rework. They are not doing you any favors, and it does nothing to help with your goals.
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